Authorities in India believe they have reported Asia's first possible death from monkeypox after a 22-year-old Indian man who had recently returned from the United Arab Emirates testing positive died.

Iran PressAsia: Three monkeypox-related deaths have so far been reported outside Africa in an outbreak that the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.

The Indian man died in Kerala on 30 July, about a week after returning from the UAE and being taken to hospital in a critical condition after having a positive test result in Dubai on 19 July.

"The youth had no symptoms of Monkeypox. He had been admitted to a hospital with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue," the Indian Express daily quoted Kerala's health minister Veena George as saying.

She added that twenty people identified as high risk of infection were being kept under observation, including family members, friends who played football with the man, and medical staff.

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The health ministry said there were 165 passengers on the same flight from UAE, but "nobody is a close contact."

Primary tests from the National Institute of Virology in the city of Pune showed that the man had the variant from West Africa and that more genetic tests would be conducted.

"The disease is nobody's fault. Those who have symptoms should inform the health department so that the spread can be contained," the ministry said, adding that there was "no need to panic."

India has reported at least four cases of the disease, the first on 15 July, in another man who returned to Kerala from the UAE.

Kerala's health ministry said in its statement that a high-level team from the state medical board would investigate the death.


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